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Study abroad : Before you leave

17 weird words added to the dictionary due to technology

Have you heard of these words? They’ve been added to the dictionary due to technology’s progress.

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The English language is constantly evolving and that pace has increased considerably due to technology’s widespread influence in our daily lives. New words are added everyday so that the dictionary can keep up with changing times.

While the Oxford English Dictionary editors have the final say on which words will be added, they look to us to decide which ones are the most relevant and widely used in today’s community.

Technology has played a major part in shaping our language and how we use it. More than a decade ago, for those who were born before the smartphone era, it’s hard to comprehend why someone would type “srsly” instead of “seriously” and why we needed to shorten words for text messages. 


Let’s take a look at some of the tech-speak that’s become commonplace today.


Screenager (n.)

People in their teens or twenties who have an affinity with computers and the internet.

"Game designers have found ingenious ways to engage screenagers in a way that other media have failed to do."

Meatspace (n.)

I personally feel that this term is not necessary, but it refers to the physical world, as opposed to the virtual world.

"I'd like to know a little more before we get together in meatspace."

Slacktivism (n.)

Actions performed via the internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, (e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website).

"Such email alerts make slacktivism easy."

Al desko (adv. & adj.)

While working at one's desk in an office (with reference to the consumption of food or meals).

I’m sure a lot of working adults can relate to this term. I’ve been guilty of having an al desko lunch or ten…

MOOC (n.)

A free course of study made available over the internet to a very large number of people.

"Anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up."

Netiquette (n.)

The correct or acceptable way to use the internet.

"Should there be some kind of protocol or netiquette associated with directing large volumes of traffic to other websites?"

Dox (v.)

To search for and publish private or identifying information about a particular individual on the internet, typically with malicious intent.

"Hackers and online vigilantes routinely dox both public and private figures."

First World problem (n.)

A relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world).

"It's a First World problem, but still if you're staying at a 5-star resort you expect some decent service."

Srsly (adv.)


"Srsly though, I don’t see why we have to this."

Cyberchondriac (n.)

A person who compulsively searches the internet for information about particular real or imagined symptoms of illness. Basically it refers to a hypochondriac who uses the internet to satiate their habit.

"Everybody is terribly health-conscious these days -- it's not a surprise that many people are becoming cyberchondriacs."

Gigaflop (n.)

A unit of computing speed equal to one billion floating-point operations per second.

"He said the latest terascale supercomputing system has several hundred gigaflops of sustained power."

Fat finger (n.)

Used to refer to clumsy or inaccurate typing, typically resulting from one finger striking two keys at the same time.

"The programming problem turned out to be a case of fat finger."

Nom nom (exclamation)

Used to express pleasure at eating, or at the prospect of eating, delicious food.

"Chili and cornbread for dinner, nom nom!"

Egosurf (v.)

To search the internet for instances of one's own name or links to one's own website.

"It’s common these days for everyone to egosurf."

Vote (someone or something) off the island (v.)

To dismiss or reject someone or something as unsatisfactory.

"When a CEO gets voted off the island, the CFO typically gets dumped, too."

Phablet (n.)

A smartphone having a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

"A 3.5-inch screen is inadequate in a market that is trending toward phablets."

Woot (exclamation)

Used to express elation, enthusiasm, or triumph, especially in electronic communication.

"I definitely get Fridays off, woot!"

Facepalm (n.)

A gesture in which the palm of one's hand is brought to one's face as an expression of dismay, exasperation, embarrassment, etc.

"I'm pretty sure said friend now thinks Anne and I are dating -- facepalm!"


Facepalm indeed.

How many of those words do you recognise and use daily?

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